Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Money Just Leaps Out of the Screen

3D hasn't peaked yet, according to a summit held yesterday at the Universal Hilton in Universal City.

During "The Business Case for 3D" panel, Screen Digest senior analyst Charlotte Jones said 3D remains a strong revenue driver for features, especially for this summer's pics. "Without 3D premium pricing, the summer would not have registered as positive," she said.

But while 3D screens continued to overperform 2D screens so far this year by about three to one, on par with historical averages, that figure is inflated by the overperformance of "My Bloody Valentine." Without that title, the ratio is down to about 2.5:1.

The major crucial factor behind the decline is 3D screen capacity, Jones said, and "3D movie revenues are being squeezed because we're seeing more 3D releases in the same time frame."

Time in 3D theaters per title is down, too, she said, from 8.7 weeks in 2008 to just 3.1 weeks this year. The 2010 schedule, with some 30 3D features slated, could drive the time down to as little as 1.8 weeks.

This crush undermines some of the advantages of 3D, she said, "including a stronger run over the duration of a title."
Which is why you're seeing a stampede of 3D enabled auditoriums across the industry. The demand is exceeding the supply.

Of course, adding to the headaches is ancillary markets - what about home viewing? Gizmodo reviews potential 3D options for 2010. At the earliest. And it's very expensive, and it still sucks. Luckily this is technology we're talking about here, and by the time you finish reading someone will have found a way to make it half as expensive and three quarters less sucky.

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